European U21 Championships: Romania to frustrate young Lions

Aidy Boothroyd
Aidy Boothroyd won't like what he saw in England's match against France.

England look very under-priced to beat an impressive Romania side while the goals should flow when France play Croatia later on in the day, says Jamie Pacheco.

"England have to be taken on at such a short price of 1.558/15. Last time out they were erratic in defence, pretty toothless in attack and indisciplined to boot, with two players booked and one sent off.
I pointed out that Romania were being seriously under-estimated ahead of their clash with Croatia on Tuesday and so it proved. They won that 4-1."

England U21 v Romania U21
Friday June 21, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football

Confident Romania can send England packing

It would be easy for England to put their defeat to France down to bad luck.

In any game where you're 1-0 up in the 89th minute, you can consider yourself pretty unfortunate to go on and lose it 2-1, especially when the 'winner' was an own goal in the 95th minute.

But the scoreline alone doesn't tell even half the story. France missed two penalties long before the equaliser, played the last half hour with an extra man after Hamza Choudhury was sent off in what resulted in the second penalty and in addition to having 54% possession, had 18 shots to England's five.

In other words, England did pretty well to keep the score at 1-0 for as long as they did and on another day could have lost that 4-1.

They're now without Choudhury of course and though there are other options in the squad, he'll be a big miss. It will also be a big concern for Aidy Boothroyd that Aaron-Wan Bissaka, the impressive right-back who Manchester United are desperate to buy from Crystal Palace, had such an awful game. The own goal could happen to anyone of course but it was his general performance well before that which will have been so disappointing. Boothroyd would have expected big things from him.

In attack, the obvious move in this must-win match is to give Tammy Abraham a game instead of Dominic Solanke. The latter's record at U21 level is admittedly very good but he hardly played all season while Abraham had an outstanding year at Villa.

England have to be taken on at such a short price of 1.558/15. Last time out they were erratic in defence, pretty toothless in attack and indisciplined to boot, with two players booked and one sent off.

I pointed out that Romania were being seriously under-estimated ahead of their clash with Croatia on Tuesday and so it proved. They won that 4-1.

They had a strong qualifying campaign and confidence will be sky high after that win. The pressure is very much on England rather than them but Romania also know that they can't really sit back and play for 0-0. Romania look very strong and their best bet might be to finish as the best runners-up to the French.

That's all to worry about another day. The odds here suggest a big gulf in quality between the sides. Well, there's a gulf in terms of big names, yes, but quality? I'm not so sure. Take on England.

France U21 v Croatia U21
Friday June 20, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football

The smart choice is lots of goals

You can read a summary of what happened in France's game against England above.

Initially it seemed a bit odd that France were the pre-tournament favourites going into the competition when they had such a poor record of qualifying for it, let alone when it came to playing in it.

But the odds-compilers clearly know their stuff because not only are France top of their group and looking good for a place in the semis but were very impressive against England, as described above. Meaning this is clearly a far stronger set of players at Under 21 level than what they normally have.

Croatia on the other hand were of course battered 4-1 by Romania. It's hard enough playing France as it is without going into the game having just lost that way, particularly when they were odds-on favourites to win it.

Yes, of course France probably will win this game at 2/5 but you don't need me telling you that. We'd rather be on a 13/8 shot with plenty of stats backing it up.

This has been an unusually high-scoring tournament so far. Five of the first six matches went over 2.5 goals and four of those went over 3.5 goals.

France's first match ended 2-1 but as stated already, could have been 4-1. Which is exactly what Croatia's was.

When they played each other in a friendly back in November 2018, it ended 2-2, further data suggesting this could be high-scoring.

A France win by 3-1 or something along those lines is how I'd imagine this to finish, which by the way is a 9/1 chance. But I'd rather cover far more bases by going for over 3.5 goals at 13/8.

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